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What is IBM WebSphere Liberty?

IBM WebSphere® Liberty is a Java™ EE application server with a low-overhead Java runtime environment designed for cloud-native applications and microservices. WebSphere Liberty was created to be highly composable, start fast, use less memory, and scale easily. The Total Economic Impact study from Forrester Research shows that Liberty can increase developer productivity, simplify administration and maximize infrastructure utilization.

The WebSphere Liberty architecture shares the same code base as the open sourced Open Liberty (link resides outside IBM) server runtime, which provides additional benefits such as low-cost experimentation, customization and seamless migration from open source to production.

Use cases

Modernize and simplify

Revolutionize the way you support your application estate. Reduce capital and operational costs, streamline security and simplify management¹. To get started, analyze your existing Java EE deployments with Transformation Advisor, a no-cost tool that identifies workloads that can easily move to Liberty in containers, and complex workloads that can move into VMs.

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Build new cloud-native apps

Use the latest Java EE 8 and MicroProfile APIs to build cloud-native apps and deploy them in Docker containers, on premises or in the cloud. Open Liberty gives developers the freedom to innovate and test with the option to deploy with IBM support with Liberty without rewriting any code.

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Create a multicloud environment

Your WebSphere Liberty license is portable between cloud service providers to meet your multicloud needs. You can deploy wherever your business dictates. Create borderless environments and move apps smoothly across cloud services with easy application portability regardless of your IT architectural environment.

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WebSphere Liberty is built on the Open Liberty project that provides a 100% open source Java EE and MicroProfile core. The combination of IBM technology and open source software provides developers with access to the latest features.

Lightweight and flexible

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The WebSphere Liberty modular architecture means only the features you need are loaded at runtime to help reduce memory consumption. The smaller footprint means you can run more application instances per machine to help reduce production costs.

Fast and scalable

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Servers running WebSphere Liberty start faster, making them ideal for rapid scale-up and scale-down of containerized applications as the workload changes. This flexibility gives you a smaller footprint that can yield faster deployment and increased scalability in a cloud environment with less impact on performance, throughput and security.


Simplify administration

Simpler administration can lower overhead. Save an average of 1.2 Administrator FTEs² with an updated administrator console that can make everything easier, from creating instances to patching.

Increase developer productivity

Eliminate rework and retesting to help increase developer productivity by 25%³. Prototype cloud-native apps in open source, then seamlessly migrate them to production that shares the same code base.

Improve infrastructure utilization

Help improve infrastructure utilization by 30%⁴. The smaller Liberty footprint can reduce infrastructure costs by improving server density.

Product versions

Open Liberty

Open Liberty is the OS foundation for the WebSphere Liberty product portfolio that can be used for developing new cloud-native applications with zero start-up cost.

WebSphere Application Server

Use this version for Java EE Full Profile applications that need to integrate with existing Java EE applications such as those using JMS.

WebSphere Liberty Core

The ideal version for Web applications or microservices that rely only on the Java EE Web Profile.

WebSphere Application Server ND

Use this version for managing Java EE Full Profile applications that run outside of a containerized environment.

WebSphere Application Server Family edition

The Family edition offers increased license flexibility across your enterprise for three WebSphere products: WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Liberty Core and WebSphere Application Server ND.

Customer success stories

Get started

Open Liberty

WebSphere Application Server is built upon an open source foundation. Try Open Liberty at no cost and engage with our open source community.

Download trial

Try the WebSphere Application Server Liberty server that includes the complete set of Java EE 8 Full Platform technologies as well as features such as monitoring and LDAP Registry.


1,2,3,4 Source: The Total Economic Impact of WebSphere Liberty, a commissioned 2018 study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of IBM